Friday, September 30, 2011

European Parliament endorses state of Palestine, urges EU to do the same

Occupied Palestine

The European Parliament voted to support the UN recognition of a Palestinian state. According to a statement issued today, the Parliament assures the legitimacy of the Palestinian bid to the UN and asks all EU countries to adopt the same position.

The Parliament endorses the UN recognition of Palestine as a state and recognizes the Palestinians’ right of self determination and sovereignty while stressing the importance of finding a solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict during the Arab Spring.

The Parliament said it is important to support the two-state solution based on 1967 borders with Jerusalem as the capital of both states. The statement calls for complete freezing of settlement construction in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

The statement assures the solution will only come through non-violent means and asks both sides to go back to negotiations while avoiding any steps that may affect the peace-making process from taking place.

Israel approved to build 1,100 new settlement units in the East Jerusalem settlement of Gilo on Tuesday, just days after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas submit the bid to the UN. The West condemned this move and pushed for negotiations between Israel and Palestine.

The Parliament stressed the importance of guaranteeing Israel security while granting Palestinians their rights as a result of the 66th meeting of the General Assembly.

Palestinian Ambassador to the EU, Laila Shahid, praised the European Parliament’s position, who assured the legitimacy of the Palestinian request at the UN.

“The European Palrliament [endorsed the UN recognition of a Palestinian State]. That is the voice of the European people,” she said.

The Parliament  expressed their support by signing a statement by Avaaz, an organization that campaigned nationally on behalf of Palestinians.

Veronique de Keyster, Vice President of the Middle East Committee and member of the Socialist group, praises the political courage of MPs and assured her groups support of the Palestinian request. Keyster said she and her party recognized the Palestinians’ right of becoming a member state, especially because it has been 63 years since Israel’s recognition by the UN and 12 years since Europeans promised to recognize a Palestinian state.

“Europe can’t tell the Palestinian people, ‘This Arab Spring is not yours,’” she said.

In a discussion with the EU high representative for foreign affairs, Catherine Ashton, the president of the Green group expressed his group’s support to the Palestinian request and criticized the weakness of the European position until now.

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